Diverse & Inclusive Picture Books: Reading Lists & Resources

Back in 2004, while living on an island in Maine I was asked by the Maine Humanities Council  to participate in the Born To Read comittee mandated to select 12 picture books for its new diversity initiative Many Eyes Many Voices: Talking About Difference Through Children's Literature. 

We shared our favorite stories & created a list of picture books that we felt challenged stereotypes and encouraged all Maine children to value difference.  Our 12 books, along with storytelling activities & discussion suggestions were given to caregivers & teachers to share and act as seeds of peace & hope.

I believe picture books can truly make a difference in a childs life and act as bridges to a safer, saner more imaginative world.  It certainly did so in mine.

As publishers, artists and illustrators of picture books we have a chance and I believe responsibility to reflect reality & represent more diversity in our stories.  Otherwise, as Walter Dean Myers asks us:
"Where are black children going to get a sense of who they are and what they can be?" 
We can do better.  Here's a few of my favorite picture books from my library. 

25 Picture Books That Cultivate Inclusion & Value Difference





7. A Chair For My Mother By Vera B. Williams, Caldecott Medal, Greenwillow, 1988, Spanish & English


8. Tar Beach By Faith Ringgold, Caldecott Medal, Crown Publishers, 1998


9. A Story, A Story, Retold & Illustrated By Gail E. Haley, Aladdin Paperbacks, Simon & Schuster, 1970




16. The Red Butterfly, By Deborah Noyes & Illustrated By Sophie Blackall, Candlewick, 2007


17. No Hickory, No Dickory, No Dock, Caribbean Nursery Rhymes, By John Agard & Grace Nichols, Illustrated by Cynthia Jabar, Candlewick, 1991

18. What A Wonderful World, By George David Weiss & Bob Theile & Illustrated By Ashley Bryant, Atheneum, 1995


21. Martin's Big Words, The Life of Martin Luther King Jr., By Doreen Rappaport & Illustrated By Bryan Collier, Hyperion, 2001


22. Tiger On A Tree, By Anushka Ravishankar Illustrated By Pulak Biswas, Tara Publishing, 1997

23. We Are All Alike, We Are All Different, Written & Illustrated By the Cheltenhame Elementary School Kindergartners, Scholastic, 1991



25. Dizzy, By Jonah Winter & Illustrated By Sean Qualls, Arthur Levine, 2006

Do you have a favoite?
Tweet it to me: @cynthiajabar and I'll add it to my list.

Diverse Picture Books Reading Lists 

30 Multicultural Books Every Teen Should Know, compiled by the Cooperative Children's Book Center

Small Presses of Color, compiled by the Cooperative Children's Book Center

World Full of Color List, Shelftalker, compiled by Elizabeth Bluemele, President, Association of Booksellers for Children

Brown Book Shelf, United In Story, a list of resources & books written by African American authors

Resources & Related Reading 

Diversity in Children's Books: Colouring in Required by Alison Flood, The Guardian

Why Hasn't The Number of Multicultural Books Increased in The Last 18 Years? Lee & Low Books Blog (Questions posed to publishers and librarians.)
True or False? Multicultural Books Don't Sell, We Are The Problem, We Are The Solution by Elizabeth Bluemie, co-owner of the Flying Pig Bookstore
 Pushing The Envelope And Making A Difference by Phoebe Yeh

No comments:

Post a Comment